A Nimble City

Sustainable Raleigh Spotlight Feature

News posted Jun. 24, 2016 - 6:00 am
Workfront Lion Award

Keeping track of work projects can be tricky. We all have our methods, from spreadsheets to wacky sticky notes, and some of us are more successful than others.

Organization is important enough that it is called out in the City of Raleigh’s Strategic Plan. A guide to the work of the City for the next three to five years, organizational excellence is one of the plan’s six focus areas, and promoting “a culture that values continuous improvement and employs leading business practices” is a specific objective.

The City wants to foster a nimble and responsive workforce, and fortunately the City’s Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) is ahead of the game. Part of the IT department, the EPMO just won a Workfront Lion Award, a bronze lion figurine, honoring its use of their online project management to efficiently manage IT software implementation projects. Raleigh was the only municipality to win an award.

The EPMO manages a lot of to-do lists and project plans. Some tasks stretch for months, such as coordinating with Google Fiber across the city or upgrading a City-wide application such as the Peoplesoft system. Big projects require lots of paperwork, such as action plans, risk assessments, status reports and approval forms.

“In the past we used Microsoft Word documents,” said IT communications manager Audrey Robinson. “It was a cumbersome process.”

Transitioning to Workfront, cloud-based and acting like a social media app, allows staff and managers to efficiently track the progress of each project while also cutting down on all the paper.

Project managers receive a template based on the size and type of project they are coordinating, with pre-defined tasks and deliverables based on industry best practices. A progress bar shows what else needs to be completed, and collaborators on specific projects can easily message each other while avoiding confusing email chains.

The Workfront app is helpful for collaboration and communication across different departments, especially when dozens of City staff are involved, said IT EPMO Director Patrick Mallory.

For example, if a department needs to reserve a space for an event, or initiate a project, they can track their to-do list online instead of filling out Word documents or Excel spreadsheets. Then staff can easily share their project and its status with other departments and with project managers.

Mallory said the tool is helpful because it increases transparency and helps departments share methods.

“We want this to be something more managers across the City can use,” said Mallory. “The tool can be used by anyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an IT project.”

The IT department offers demos to any City department that wants to explore Workfront. Budget Management, Public Works and Development Services have all taken advantage of the tool to track various projects.

This Sustainable Raleigh Spotlight is one in a series of City of Raleigh sustainability stories.

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